Brendon Burton

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Brendon Burton Captures Moments of Nostalgia and Wonder in North America’s Most Isolated Places

May 17, 2023

Kate Mothes

An aerial landscape photograph with a church in the foreground.

All images © Brendon Burton, shared with permission

Growing up in an isolated community, photographer Brendon Burton developed an eye for the way decaying buildings nestle into the landscape or punctuate vast expanses. Now based primarily in Portland, Oregon, he travels around the U.S. in search of rural places that are culturally worlds apart from major urban centers, seemingly existing on their own timelines. Like his series Thin Placeshis recent body of work titled Interstices—to which some of these images belong—emphasizes the notion of liminality, advancing time, and spaces for passing through.

Utilizing drones to achieve dramatic aerial views in addition to intimate perspectives shot from ground level, Burton highlights the relationships between the built environment and wilderness, ancestry and life cycles, and presence and local traditions. “I recently visited the Deep South for the first time and documented Courir de Mardi Gras in a rural Cajun community in Louisiana,” he says. “It was truly an insane event, and the people I met were so kind and welcoming. I definitely will be visiting the South again soon.”

Burton is currently working on a second photo book focusing on the effects of the climate crisis and cultural isolation in rural communities throughout North America. As for future trips, he is headed to Saskatchewan and Manitoba this summer, then rural Appalachia in the autumn. Prints are available on his website, and you can find more on Instagram.


A dilapidated church and an animal skeleton in a pond.

A figure walking through corn.

An old school house in a field of sunflowers.

A view out a window to a mountain in the distance.

A snowy landscape surrounding an old farm.

An abandoned house becoming overgrown.

An abandoned feed mill or barn.

An abandoned farmhouse with goats.





Ghostly Aerial Photos Frame Isolated and Abandoned Houses Scattered Across North America

September 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Brendon Burton, shared with permission

In his ongoing series titled Thin Places, Portland-based photographer Brendon Burton documents battered houses that stand alone in barren fields, amidst an encroaching marsh, or at the edge of the mountain. The decrepit structures have been Burton’s preferred subject matter since 2011 when he began seeking abandoned buildings across the continent that exude a sense of impermanence and the uncanny. “This series is for the sake of satisfying my curiosity about the past and exploring isolated parts of North America. It mixes archeology with fantasy,” he says.

Derived from Celtic culture, Thin Places refers to locales “where heaven and earth grow thin,” Burton says. “Traditionally, the term was meant as a place one would feel closer to God, or something otherworldly. In a more modern sense, it’s a form of liminality, areas that feel transitory.” Each property is shot with a drone, offering a detached view of the once-occupied spaces and a brief encounter with their former use. “What makes people leave, and what keeps things standing? How much of a life gets left along with it?” he asks.

Burton plans to visit Appalachia next, and you can follow his travels on Behance and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)